Jazz Pianist and also BABYMETAL fan Hitomi Nishiyama analyzed song by song her album "NHORHM". In one of her blogs talks about BABYMETAL's song "THE ONE", which is the bonus track of her second album "New Heritage Of Real Heavy Metal" released on on December 7, 2016 . Read her blog translated below.
Jazz Pianist Hitomi Nishiyama blog about BABYMETAL song "THE ONE"
I’m introducing the last track which is THE ONE from BABYMETAL.
My previous album also held their song, and I covered one of the live versions of their songs again.
The MV of this song is exposed in their official channel on YouTube.
This is the last song of their 2nd album ‘METAL RESISTANCE’ released last year. And listening to it live is awesome.
I first listened to it at Shinkiba coast in April last year. Unlike other songs, it doesn’t use choreography but just hands movement. That means you can concentrate on the song itself instead of following their action with your eyes.
Since you are supposed to listen to a certain melody again and again at the end of the tune, it makes your feelings run high and you would realize unity with the whole audience there with you. What a nice tune to experience live. We also witnessed an impressive staging with this song at Tokyo Dome last year, which made me love the song more.
Well-balanced parallel minor keys are used in this tune, which isn’t ordinary not only for metal but also pop music I think. But if I can give an example, it would be Dream Theater. As the melody sounds very leisurely and majestic, moreover it has enough space between melodies as well, I thought this tune would work as an ensemble for jazz, too. So I didn’t change the original tune basically, but increased the variation of the harmony at the end, which comes after the refrain, using parallel minor keys and a drum solo to make it more ‘colorful’.
The first reason why I selected this tune is that I really enjoy playing it live. Besides, even jazz fans, who never listen to metal and BABYMETAL, often recognize it to be a nice tune! It’s so nice to play that I will say there’s no reason why NHORHM wouldn’t play it live.
I thought of the factors which can make us recognize BABYMETAL songs even without their appearance, dances and the concept, but only with the way their music is. The obvious things should be their tone and timbre.
Even in the single metal album ‘Metal Resistance’, there are various kinds of sub-genre from metal music. They are Melodic Speed Metal, Loud Rock, Viking Metal and Visual Kei. Very few artists would do such a thing. They have several composers and each has a different style, the girls didn’t write the lyrics, and the messages depend on songs. When I think why I recognize their sound in spite of the difference of the setup such as melodies, lyrics, types of metal which are the essence of songs, I can always see the consistency in the gap between girls’ voices and its music, which is the simplest thing though.
I can show you one example called ‘Awadama Fever’. When you listen to the intro of the song, you can obviously expect that it will be followed by a growl or rap music. However, the girl’s voices come after it in actually. There are various types of music and incongruous contrasts with the girls’ voices such as fast double bass drums or loud violent sounds. It depends on songs, but in the case of THE ONE, it must be the parallel minor keys which the girls seem never to sing with that chord progression and are giving individual character to the song at the same time.
When the fast double bass drums and loud violent sounds are the highlights of the song, you can hardly make a good arrangement of the song even if the melody itself was good, because it is difficult for a jazz trio of the piano, the bass and the drums to reproduce that heavy stuff. However, when the important points are the melody and the chord progression, you can play it with the piano, keeping the energy of the original song.
People always argue whether BABYMETAL is 'metal or not metal'. When I hear such arguments, I always think “The evolution of music and culture could be like a chimera”. Of course there are many people who have been preserving the tradition, and that’s obviously awesome. We have lots of people from diverse positions/viewpoints in music, who are trying to keep the tradition or evolving like a chimera, and that can make this scene more fertile, which you can see in every genre and field.
At the end of my writing, I wanna show a song with very good lyrics, which comes from another genre though. It is a Japanese rap music mentioning Japanese rap. This is an excellent piece of music to which I, a jazz player in Japan and a big BABYMETAL fan, can’t help but shout ‘Yay’
So, this is the end of the introduction of our 2nd album.
We’re starting the concert tour next week, please come to listen it live. And I’ve already started to select songs that I would cover in the 3rd album. The album would be the last one of the trilogy and I will arrange songs differently. I will be waiting to see you at concert venues. You will be very welcome even in a metal T shirt!
Blog by: Hitomi Nishiyama.
Translation by: Shotablue.
Read: THE ONE bonus track of second "NHORHM" CD, click here.
Read: Akumu No Rondo part of first "NHORHM" CD, click here.
Read: NHORHM members talk about BABYMETAL, click here.